The GROW Coaching Model

The GROW Coaching Model

The GROW coaching model is a simple but powerful framework that can be applied to structure coaching and mentoring sessions, as well as self-administered by an individual trying to get themselves unstuck. The acronym G.R.O.W. stands for the Goal, the current Reality, Options and finding the Will to move forward. This process was first developed in the United Kingdom in 1970 by Alexander Graham and has over the years been used extensively in corporate coaching.

One great way of thinking about the GROW model is to think of how you plan and create a road map for any journey. First, you need to decide where your destination (goal) is. Then you need to establish your current location (your current reality). After this, you need to explore different routes (options) to the destination. In the last step (will), you have to be committed to the journey and above all, you have to have the will to handle all the obstacles you might meet along the way.

How to use the GROW Coaching Model:

  1. Establish the Goal

You need to establish the goal or primary objective. S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, attainable, measurable, realistic and time-bound) are a great place to start. When coming up with the goal watch out for words like ‘less’, ‘better’ or ‘improved’ that indicate the goal might not be specific. If a goal contains words such as these it might be hard to measure. Without a defined endpoint it is impossible to plan a route. Refine the goal by asking questions like: What exactly do you wish to achieve? What will success look like when you are finished?

  1. Examine the Current Reality

Next, you need to establish and honestly assess the current state of the situation. In many cases, people try to resolve a certain problem or reach a certain goal without considering their current situation. By not properly addressing the current reality you could miss some important information that is imperative to a successful conclusion. Some questions to ask include: Does the goal conflict with other goals? What has worked in the past? What didn’t work?

Basically, this step is all about grounding the process in reality. This step should include a candid look at skills, knowledge and resources needed to reach the goal so adjustments and proper planning can happen early.

  1. Explore the Different Options

After exploring the current reality it is time to explore all possible options available to reach the goal. Review all the options (even the crazy ones) and then decide on the best one. If acting as a coach, it is okay to offer some suggestions during this step, but be careful. Options that manifest from the self are often better than those that are prescribed.  Things to think about:

  • What possible options are there?
  • What has worked in the past?
  • What has not been tried but might work?
  • What must stop (or be put on hold) in order to attain the goal?
  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of various options?
  • What obstacles are there?

This step is about optimizing the available choices and identifying potential obstacles. Often, there is a creative solution brought forth during this process, which is the optimal option but was not apparent before going through this step.

  1. Evolve Will

After exploring and expanding available options, it is time to commit. Time to instill, evolve, and expand the needed motivation to get the job done. Important questions to ask include:

  • What could get in the way of moving forward?
  • How can obstacles be overcome?
  • How can I keep motivation high and will this happen?
  • When and how will progress be reviewed? Monthly, weekly, daily?

The purpose of coaching is generally positive change of some sort. The GROW coaching model is a very simple four step process that greatly helps a coach (or individual) structure goal achievement into a very linear, easy to follow, path. It is a great framework for anyone who is looking for a straightforward method to creating a road map from where they are today, to where they want to be in the future.

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